Before he was a New York Yankee (or Texas Ranger or Atlanta Brave or Los Angeles Angel), Mark Teixeira was a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.
Tech coach Danny Hall paid tribute to his former player after Teixeira announced his retirement Friday, effective at the end of this season, his 14th.
“Mark is one of the best baseball players ever to wear the White and Gold,” Hall said in a statement. “He has always represented himself, his family and Georgia Tech with impeccable class. I am so proud and fortunate to have coached him. He has a lasting legacy as a player and continues to donate time, money, and effort to making our program one of the best in the country. I wish he, his wife Leigh, and their children all the best. My respect and gratitude for them will last forever.”
Teixeira played for Tech 1999-2001, winning the Dick Howser Award in 2000 as national player of the year. His .409 career batting average remains third all-time in school history. He was drafted fifth overall in 2001, by Texas, and was in the major leagues two years later. He is one of four Tech players to have his jersey honored. (Jason Varitek is the only player and Jim Luck the only coach to have their jerseys retired.)
Teixeira has continued to hold close ties to the school. In 2009, he endowed a baseball scholarship and more recently he assisted in the fundraising for the renovations and upgrades to Tech’s baseball facilities. The clubhouse at Russ Chandler Stadium now bears his name.
“Georgia Tech has always been a special place for me, and I have always welcomed the opportunity to help out the baseball program in any way possible,” Teixeira said in a statement when his scholarship was announced. “I was very blessed to receive a scholarship.”
With his retirement, the possibility looms that he could be the first former Tech player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s unclear. Baseball statistician Bill James created a formula to predict which players will be inducted, giving them points based on various accomplishments – five points for each season of 200 or more hits, eight points for an MVP award, etc.
By the formula, Teixeira has 108 points. Players with scores of 125 or higher are near locks. His 108 likely means he’ll get consideration. (Another Tech great, Nomar Garciaparra, has 112 points.) In the case against category, Teixeira has finished in the top 15 of MVP voting twice, and made three All-Star Games. His career offensive WAR is 41.7, 19th among active players – very, very good, but not necessarily indicative of a dominant player in his time.
However, he also won five Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers (best hitting player at his position) and is just one of five switch hitters to hit 400 home runs. An ESPN article made this case for Teixeira making it to Cooperstown – nine players in history have hit 400 home runs and won five Gold Gloves. Seven are in the Hall of Fame and the other two are Barry Bonds, whose candidacy has been derailed by PED allegations, and former Brave Andruw Jones, who will be eligible in 2018.
You could make a case that he was the second best first baseman of his generation behind Albert Pujols.
Probably no need to ask Danny Hall his opinion.